For thirty years, the Bouncing Souls have been playing all around the globe, from basements to clubs to massive sized festivals, they have seen and done it all. However, regardless of the size of the audience or the success they receive, the Souls are still and always will be the same humble guys they were 30 years ago.
Their latest effort, Crucial Moments, is a 6 song EP that clocks in at almost 15 minutes with each song is soaked in their signature sound. The production of the album, which was handled by Philadelphia producer Will Yip, came out making this album sound pristine. The only draw back to this album is how short it is, but that is a draw back not to get hung up on. Crucial Moments is a great addition to the Souls catalog and a good introduction album to anyone unfamiliar with their music. Might get heat for that comment, but the songs really encapsulates the Souls’ past and present sound. With the release of this album, the Bouncing Souls also released a decent sized coffee table book called, Crucial Moments: 30 Years of Life With The Bouncing Souls. The book is filled with hundreds of photos throughout their career and also stories from friends and other musicians either about what the band means to them, how they met, or just stories that show who the Bouncing Souls really are. The stories are genuine and really come across that Bouncing Souls are the real deal. These guys weren’t setting out to become famous, they were setting out to do what they love and also build a community. Community, that is the most repeated word throughout the book, the Souls made a community at their house in New Jersey where anyone and everyone could join and also while they toured with other bands. The book really puts into perspective everything the Bouncing Souls have gone through and why they are one of the most beloved bands in the punk scene. I honestly think if more people listened to the Souls and attended their shows, they would see New Jersey in a different light and not as the armpit of America.
As for my story with the Bouncing Souls, I don’t have a huge life changing story as others, but I remember the first time I heard them and my first album I bought of them. Like many others, growing up, the way I obtained new music was from compilation albums. There were a few I would always buy from record labels like Vagrant, Hopless, Kung Fu, and Epitaph. Anytime they would release one I bought it, and why wouldn’t you? For about $5 you get tons of music and are able to check out so many artists. It was Punk-O-Rama 4 by Epitaph Records that I heard for the first time the Bouncing Souls. The song, which I am pretty sure was a lot of people’s introduction to the Bouncing Souls, was “Hopeless Romantic”. Right away I was blown away, compared to the other bands on the compilation, this song was the most catchiest and stand out track I’ve heard. However, my search to find the full length album would take me 8 years to purchase it. Reason being, when I first heard the song, the internet and e-commence wasn’t that big yet and all my local record stores didn’t have it. I didn’t know you could order it at that time from the record shops, being a young unknowing kid, but the worse part was I saw other albums by them yet wanted that album first. When you are teenager you really have no clue what you are doing in life. Regardless, it wouldn’t be until I took a vacation during college up to Cape Cod, MA that I obtain the album. I stopped at the local Newbury Comics, amazing shop, and low and behold there it was, Hopeless Romantic. Now a days you can just download and album or stream and move on with life, but there was something about the search back then that makes you remember an album and all it took to get it. I still do the search, mostly for vinyl now, not compact disc. That vacation I remember driving around the Cape and playing that album with the windows down, it really is a good summer album and anytime I think of the summer I think of the Massachusetts beaches and blasting the Bouncing Souls.
As for this in-store performance, the Souls got the “book expansion” from the fans. The guys came out and performed what was thought to be three songs, but turned into 9 songs. The storyteller type setting gave the Souls time to explain a few songs even if Greg’s Mom, inspiration to “I Like Your Mom”, was in the crowd. The laughter and embarrassment of singing the song was comical as the guys tried to rush through it. Vintage Vinyl recorded the whole performance, seen below, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Once the set was done, the fans got the chance to have things signed and tell the Souls what they mean to them. Hugs, crying babies, and even a proposal happened within the signing, but one thing was clear, the Souls weren’t there to just say hi and sign. Each member made it a point to extend a hand shake first and make the fans feel like the table between them meant nothing, everyone is equal in this and they wanted to hear your story. For almost 2 hours the Bouncing Souls met every fan in the building, and didn’t leave until they did. That night they had another in-store appearance in Philadelphia at Creep Records doing the same thing, and I can bet they made sure to meet every fan there too. 2 in-stores in one day with being about 2 hours away from each other, this truly shows how much the Souls care for their fans. It’s no wonder they are still known to be the most hard working, genuine, and caring band out there.